Digital Zoom vs. DSLR cameras?
I'd appreciate some feedback on the pro's and con's of a digital zoom camera (like the Canon S5is or the Panasonic fz18) vs. a DSLR camera (like the Canon EOS or the Pentax K10D).1st about me:.

I've been taking pictures for a while, but am no pro. My son has an older version of the Canon Digital Zoom) and I have a good old SLR non-digital. To be honest, I think the pictures he takes with his Digital zoom are great. So, I'm trying to figure out if it is worth the extra price and hassle to go for a DSLR camera.I don't want to spend more than 800 dollars on lenses and camera together..

Frankly, I don't want to get too complicated a machine. I simply want to take good pictures and will probably take a photo class when I get the camera.So, here is my question:.

I'm sure the Digital Zooms are not as high a quality as a DSLR, but don't they have the big advantage that you don't need a big lens and a small lens? I expect to travel on family vacations with the camera and my experience with my old Canon SLR was that it was so big (with the 70-200 zoom) that I often left it home and took a point and shoot..

But maybe I'm missing something here? Do the DSLR cameras also do digital zoom or must I have at least two (rather expensive) lenses in order to take a range of pictures.Thanks for your advise...

Comments (10)

Seems to me that you have answered your own question. In the end the best camera is the one that best suits your needs. And one mustn't forget cost or, as you mention, bulk and weight..

I very much like the section where you can compare cameras side-by-side one of the great features of this site...

Comment #1

Get an Olympus C-8080. There isn't much to the "zoom" of it, but it takes incredibly high quality images and will not disappoint..

There is not a single camera in the non-dSLR market that has a long zoom and also takes great pictures. If there was I would own it. There isn't. They all generate purple-fringing in the contasting areas of the photo and that's simply not acceptable. No one has ever made a good long zoom point & shoot camera ever. I'm still waiting..

The entry Nikon with the 18-55mm lens is pretty nice, but it limits you quite a bit to the wide-angle of photography. I own the 18-200mm VR lens and I'm delighted with it. I just absolutely love it! Sure it's not as good as two $1500 lenses that cover the ground a lot better, but at 1/4 of the cost of those two lenses I'm really enjoying myself..

Honestly, get the C-8080 and you'll be thanking me over and over and over again. I've owned many dSLR cameras and many point & shoot cameras and I'm telling you that I have a huge percentage of my very best photographs from that C-8080. It really is that good. It just blows away all the competition. It completely dominates the market segment. There's nothing like it.

Maybe in a couple years or so, but right now, absolutely none of the cameras out are capable of good zoom photography. None...

Comment #2

I may be wrong, but I get the feeling that you may be confusing Digital Zoom (cropping to the centre of a frame and then expanding it to fill the same area as the whole frame with loss of quality) with the range of wide range of focal lengths on non-SLR digital cameras?.

The lenses on many of these are excellent; in fact I beleive the 28-300 (equiv) lens on the Fuji 9100/9600 that I use I think is better than the kit lens on my DSLR (see my Back to the Bridge camera link below). Fuji have just announced the S100FS with a 2/3 sensor, image stabilisation and an 18x zoom as a replacement for that model. In terms of convenience it should give entry level DSLRs a run for their money on convenience factors, apart from size with a single lens..

However, a DSLR will produce better image quality thanks to the much larger and less photo-site-crammed sensor. This means higher ISOs can be used to great advantage with telephoto focal lengths and in low light..

There is nothing - apart from the extra price - to stop you mounting an 18-250mm (28-375) Tamron lens on a DSLR and leaving it there most of the time. Also some of the newer DSLRs have an option for live view on flip out LCDs (the upcoming Sony Alpha 350 and there is a Panasonic L10 as well). This may make the bridge camera more redundant..

But if you're thinking about digital zoom (effectively cropping from say 8mp to 2mp) on a compact digital camera with a small sensor, it would be best to dismiss it as a bad option from the outset. The only benefit it gives is with image composition visualisation.John.Please visit me at:

Comment #3

What I think you are asking is whether or not a good p&s can take the same shot as a 6mp dslr, and when printed at a 8x10ich how do they compare..

The answer is yes no and maybe. I can illustrate this by the following real story which I found to interesting..

In the summer of 2006 a pro working for a website and photo magazine went on a trip to hawaii. he took his canon20d, a dslr, and a canon s3IS, a good p&s super zoom. his intent was to shoot as many identical shots as possible with the 2 cameras and compare the results when he got home. before he went he said that the dslr should win in a walk. if for no other reason that the dslr has more mps..

What happened was the following: in 80% of the shots it was difficulkt to impossible to tell which camera shot which pic. the 80% however all had something in common. they were pics of everyday scenes or people or landscapes. there was not any closeups, heavy telephoto, or any other specialzed images. for everyday shooting the super zoom did extremely well. BUT, when the dslr was able to switch lenses for a special use or add other gear to get a more optimized photo gear setup; there was simply no comparison.

In the remaining 20% the p&s could not compete on a one for one quality image basis. the p&s beyond the builtin features could not adapt well enough in very difficulkt conditions, but the dslr could..

So therefore as long as the user stays inside of the limits that a good p&s super zoom has the pics will generally be very good. once you try to take images that are pushing the design limits then the super zoom simply has no way to change to get any more performance..

Please note that the above is talking about a max print size of 8x10inches. this was the comparison used. if you increase the print size to 11x14 or 16x20 or 20x30 THEN the p&s would not be able to compete in even more situations and would be doing this faster as the print size went up...

Comment #4

Eclipse Optics wrote:.

There is not a single camera in the non-dSLR market that has a longzoom and also takes great pictures. If there was I would own it.There isn't. They all generate purple-fringing in the contastingareas of the photo and that's simply not acceptable. No one has evermade a good long zoom point & shoot camera ever. I'm still waiting..

You need to get out a little more often.because there are some good non-DSLR's with long zooms!.

The Panasonic FZ50 with Leica 35-420mm lens is just one of them:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

From my FZ50:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #5

We tried panasonics, they make blurry noisy pictures..

The Olympus long zooms were far more sharp and far less noisy. But they had purple-fringing like crazy..

We're still waiting. Maybe the new Olympus SP-570 with it's dual image-stabilizers will be the ticket; but from the review on the 560, I sincerely doubt it...

Comment #6

FishingBuddy wrote:.

I'd appreciate some feedback on the pro's and con's of a digital zoomcamera (like the Canon S5is or the Panasonic fz18) vs. a DSLR camera(like the Canon EOS or the Pentax K10D)..

I think you're talking about "superzoom" cameras, as opposed to "digital zoom"..

A "superzoom" camera is a digital point-and-shoot camera with a non-removable lens that has a high (10x to 18x) optical zoom ratio..

"Digital zoom" is an inferior substitute for optical zoom (although there may be both optical and digital zoom on the same camera)...

Comment #7

Well for $850..... I got a Nikon D40X with 18-55mm and the 55-200mm VR. All very compact for travel. Outstanding Nikkor glass. Produces great photos. I travel 4 days a week and it all goes everywhere I go very comfortably.

Happy trails. Darrell..

Comment #8

I'm currently toying with the idea of getting a Superzoom, and the Panny FZ50 is so far tops on my list. I know it has noisy pics above ISO 100-200, as you have said as well, so can you recommend something else? What would you say is the best Superzoom that's comparable to the FZ50 but takes sharp photos at the widest ISO range?..

Comment #9

Man, nothing..

Try out the new Oly SP-570. The Oly C7xx series were sharp. It's my fear that the SP-series is a step backward in some way, but I've always been fond of Olympus..

The problem though is that it will be a long time before we know anything about this new camera as far as reviews go. You're just going to have to check one out for yourself..

Another possibilty is the new Fuji Bridge camera. The FinePix S100FS. Again, you'll have to go to the store and take some pictures with it yourself in order to make a decision because it will be awhile before any reviews are out..

Me, I'm going to wait for reviews on these cameras and I expect nothing new. Maybe I'll be surprised, but I doubt it. They're packing too many MP into a body with a long-lens that has sub-par optics. I really will be surprised to hear that either is highly recommended. But as soon as a long gun prosumer is elected, I'll be picking one up immediately. I've been shopping for years and the market is barren of quality in this regard...

Comment #10

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